Setting the Scene... The USMMA men's basketball team closes out the calendar year in Daytona Beach, FL at the Land of Magic Classic, hosted by Embry-Riddle. The Mariners will start the event Friday night against Elmira before a Saturday night clash with the fourth ranked team in NAIA Division II, Embry-Riddle.
Series History... Elmira holds a 2-1 advantage over Merchant Marine in the all-time series between the two programs. However, the Mariners picked up the victory in the teams' only meeting in the last 25 years. USMMA defeated the Soaring Eagles, 83-72, in the 2005-06 season. Saturday's contest will be the first time the Mariners have ever locked-up against Embry-Riddle.
We're Going Streaking!... Both of Merchant Marine's opponents this week, as well as the Mariners themselves, have a streak heading into the Land of Magic Classic. Embry-Riddle has rattled off nine consecutive victories while Elmira has dropped its first eight games of the 2012-13 season. USMMA is riding its first winning streak of the year having won its last three affairs, beginning with an upset of then-#9 Scranton.
Bang for your "Buck"... Reigning Landmark Conference Player of the Year Reed Buck (Lawrenceville, GA) exploded for a season high 26 points last time out in the Mariners 71-61 win over Dickinson. The junior forward leads the league in scoring again this year, averaging 17.8 points per game.
Power Game... The Mariners are the top-ranked team in the Landmark Conference in both rebounds and blocks per game. USMMA pulls down 42.2 rebounds per game as well as rejects 4.9 blocks per game. Merchant Marine blocked a season high 12 shots against Dickinson, including six from freshman Andrew Williams (Lantana, TX).
Efficient and Effective... Williams and Nick Sergio (Patchogue, NY) rank in the top-five in the Landmark Conference in field goal percentage. Williams is shooting at a 60.0% clip (2nd) while Sergio has drained 55.6% of his attempts (5th) in 2012-13.
Up Next... The Mariners return to the court after the New Year as they travel to Hartford, CT to take on Trinity College on January 2.